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Home | Tag Archives: battle of i-10

Tag Archives: battle of i-10

UTEP, NMSU Set for Round Two in The of Battle of I-10 Wednesday Night

In their 217th meeting and second this season, rivals UTEP and NM State will tangle tonight at 7 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center as the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 resumes.

“It’s a significant rivalry based on proximity. You can throw the records out and you’re going to get each other’s best game,” first-year UTEP head coach Rodney Terry said. “We understand what’s on the line in terms of the rivalry. I think it’s great that we have that kind of out-of-conference opponent early in the year where it means something on both ends. We’re going to compete as hard as we can.”

Wednesday night’s game is an ‘Orange Out’ and the first 5,000 fans will receive an orange pom-pom.

“We have a lot of respect for [NM State’s] program and what they’ve been able to do,” Terry said. “They have good players who put a lot of pressure on you defensively. In transition, they put a lot of pressure on you in terms of scoring early. You need to stop the ball with [A.J.] Harris and do a great job with him defensively. He can score for himself and he can also find guys that can score as well. Pick-and-roll defense is really big for us. We have to do a good job with our coverage. And the rebounding battle will be huge, we know they did a nice job rebounding against us [in Las Cruces]. They’re a good team and a great challenge for us in nonconference play.”

Single-game tickets, starting at $8, are available by calling (915) 747-5234. Fans can listen live on KOFX 92.3 with ‘The Voice of the Miners’ Jon Teicher and Steve Yellen. The Spanish broadcast can be heard on ESPN Deportes 1650AM with Omar Ropele and Abel Rodriguez. The Miners and Aggies can also be seen on the CUSA.TV live stream.

“We played at some really good environment earlier in the season and when I took this job I knew that [the Don Haskins Center] will be one of the toughest places to play as well. And we need to create that,” Terry said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. We know we need to put a good product on the floor for the Miner fans, one that will do really well on the floor and play with some grit and effort that this community will support. I’d like to think we’ll build some goodwill to where this community will come and get behind the kids who will do it the right way on and off the court. We’re trying to build a winner on and off the court with kids the community will feel good about and will want to come and support win or lose.”

The Miners (2-3) are coming off a loss at New Mexico (84-78) in which they had a five-point lead at the half on Nov. 24. The Lobos hit 8-of-11 from three-point range during the second half to pull away for the victory.

Sophomore Evan Gilyard, who was named the Conference USA Player of the Week on Nov. 26, scored 22 points to lead the squad and connected on 5-of-9 from downtown. It was Gilyard’s fourth time leading the team in scoring, while it was also his fourth 20-plus point performance of the young season.

Efe Odigie, who was named the C-USA Freshman of the Week on November 26, came up a rebound short of his third consecutive double-double. Odigie scored 11 points and went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe with under three minutes left in the game to keep the Miners in the contest.

A pair of UTEP freshmen hit double figures in points for the first time during their careers. Nigel Hawkins scored 12 points and led the team with two steals. Jordan Lathon connected on a pair of three-point buckets, scoring 10 points and leading the team with four assists. Paul Thomas scored a season-high 16 points before fouling out and Kaosi Ezeagu came off the bench to score six points and tally five rebounds.

Gilyard is the third-leading scorer in C-USA and ranks 43rd nationally at 20.8 points per game, while Odigie leads the league in rebounds per contest (10.2) and ranks 23rd nationally. As a team, UTEP ranks second in C-USA in three-point shooting percentage (.376) and fifth in defensive rebounds per game (27.6).

NM State (3-1) is coming off a split since hosting UTEP on Nov. 9. The Aggies fell to Saint Mary’s (Calif.), 73-58, on Nov. 14 in Las Cruces, while outscoring New Mexico, 98-94, on Nov. 17 in The Pit. Aggies 5-9 guard A.J. Harris led his team with 31 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from downtown in 30 minutes of action against UNM. Terrell Brown chipped in with 20 points. Mohamed Thiam led the team in rebounds (nine) against the Lobos.

NM State is led by Harris’s 14.8 point per game, while Brown is averaging 12.8 points per contest. Eli Chuha paces the squad in rebounds per game (6.0).

The Aggies lead the all-time series 113-103, while the Miners have lost the last eight contests. UTEP’s last win came on Nov. 22, 2014, a 77-76 triumph in the Don Haskins Center.

Earlier this year, NM State defeated UTEP, 96-69, on November 9 at the Pan American Center.

Miners Set to Battle Aggies Friday Night in Las Cruces

UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry, along with his revamped roster will experience their first Battle of I-10 on Friday (Nov. 9) as UTEP will face NM State for the first time this season.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in the Pan American Center.

“It’s obviously a great rivalry, one that we have tremendous respect for and respect for their program and what they’ve been able to do,” Terry said. “There’s obvious respect for coach (Chris) Jans and how he gets his guys prepared to compete at a very high level. I think it’s great for both of us to compete at a high level and continue to get better.”

The Miners and Aggies will face each other for the 216th time on Friday night, while the two will square off for a second time this season on Wednesday, November 28 in the Don Haskins Center.

The November 9 date is the earliest that the two programs will meet in the history of the rivalry, while it’s the second time since the 2014-15 season that UTEP will take on NM State in its second game of the season.

The Miners (1-0) are coming off a 90-63 victory over UT Permian Basin on Nov. 6, while Terry chalked up his first win as UTEP’s head coach. Terry started two freshmen in Efe Odigie and Jordan Lathon, while Kaosi Ezeagu played significant minutes off the bench. The trio combined for 39 points, the second-most combined points ever by UTEP freshmen in a season opener.

Odigie impressed in his UTEP debut, scoring 23 points and pulling down nine rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Odigie’s tied the most points ever by a UTEP freshman in a season opener. Terry’s other big man, Ezeagu, made a positive impression, scoring 10 points, tallying nine rebounds and blocking a pair of shots. Lathon led the Miners with 10 rebounds, dished out four assists, blocked two shots and chipped in with six points. Lathon was the first UTEP freshman with 10-plus boards in a season opener since 1978.

As far as UTEP’s returning letterwinners, Paul Thomas energized the Miner faithful and his teammates with a thunderous dunk over a UT Permian Basin defender during the second half. The senior scored 10 points, blocked a shot, tallied a pair of dimes and three rebounds.

Evan Gilyard led the Miners with 24 points on 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. The sophomore sensation scored 16 of his points during the second half, while connecting on 5-of-7 three-point buckets. Gilyard tied for the team lead with fellow sophomore Kobe Magee as each dished out five assists. Magee was the first Miner to play the full 40 minutes in season opener since Nov. 21, 2000.

After heading to the locker room up four points (38-34), Terry’s squad came out with more intensity during the second half and outscored the Falcons, 52-29, after hitting on more than 65 percent of their field goals. Overall, UTEP connected on over 52 percent of its field goals, while going 11-for-23 from three-point range. The Miners also dished out 19 assists, combined for six blocks and outrebounded their opponent, 42-40. UTEP’s 42 free throw attempts were its third-most in a season opener.

The Aggies (1-0) also won on opening night, defeating North Dakota State, 73-56. Redshirt senior JoJo Zamora led the team with 16 points in 19 minutes, while junior Terrell Brown scored 13 points off the bench. Junior Clayton Henry led NM State with seven rebounds and chipped in with eight points. The Aggies recorded eight assists and outrebounded NDSU 47-31.

UTEP and NM State is the longest-running series in school history, as the Aggies lead the series 112-103.

Last season during the first meeting on Nov. 25 in Las Cruces, Thomas (30 minutes) and Gilyard (33 minutes) tied for the team lead with 14 points each and registered five rebounds apiece.

During the second meeting in El Paso, Thomas recorded nine points and three rebounds, while Magee, after only playing one minute in the first meeting, upped his minutes to eight in the second game.

H-P Sports In Depth: UTEP vs NMSU

UTEP takes on NM State in the rematch of the Battle of I-10 on Friday in Las Cruces. The Aggies won the first meeting between the teams 79-68, on December 13 in El Paso.

UTEP (2-9)  and NM State (12-2) are meeting after Christmas for only the second time in 15 years.  The first was on Feb. 23, 2013.  That game was also played at the Pan American Center.  NM State has reeled off 10 victories in a row, tied for the seventh-longest win streak in the country.

UTEP has lost eight in a row, tied for the seventh-longest streak in the nation (both streaks through games of Dec. 28).

With the trip to Las Cruces, the Miners open a season-long four-game road swing.  UTEP will play its first three C-USA games away from home at UTSA (Sunday), LA Tech (Jan. 5) and Southern Miss (Jan. 7).

The Miners also have four straight road games on the docket from Feb. 16-25. UTEP hasn’t played four road games in succession since Jan. 27-Feb. 5, 2005.


–    The Aggies are 9-0 at the Pan American Center this season with an average margin of victory of 17.2 points.
–    NM State has won 18 straight at the Pan American Center dating back to December of last year.
–    NM State ranks 17th nationally in free throw attempts (355), 19th in free throws made (252) and 30th in three-point field goal percentage defense (.295).
–    Junior guard Braxton Huggins is 15th in the NCAA in three-point field goal percentage (.481).
–    NM State averages 78.1 ppg with five players averaging double figures in scoring — senior guard Ian Baker (14.7 ppg), Huggins (13.9 ppg), injured sophomore guard Sidy N’Dir (13.7 ppg), junior forward Jemerrio Jones (10.9 ppg) and sophomore forward Eli Chuha (10.6 ppg).
–    Chuha and Jones average 8.1 and 7.9 rebounds respectively.


–    NM State leads the series 109-103.
–    The Aggies have won seven of the last eight games between the long-time rivals.
–    This is the 100th meeting between the teams in Las Cruces (NMSU leads 59-40) and the 50th at the Pan American Center (NMSU leads 28-21).
–    UTEP’s last win in Las Cruces was on Nov. 30, 2010 (74-72).


–    Ian Baker scored five of his game-high 20 points during an 11-0 run midway through the first half, leading NM State to a 79-68 victory at UTEP on Dec. 13.
–    UTEP was down 9-2 early, but pulled within one (15-14) on a jumper by Omega Harris with 11:57 remaining in the half before Jermaine Haley started the 11-0 spurt with a three-pointer.  By the time it ended, the Miners were down 26-14 and they trailed by double digits most of the remainder of the game.
–    The deficit reached 20 five minutes into the second half and a late rally – triggered by freshman Tim Cameron with a pair of three-point plays – came up short.
–    The Aggies shot 62.5 percent in the first half and 54.9 percent on the night, and outrebounded the Miners 38-28.
–    Jemarrio Jones had 18 points and 13 rebounds off the bench for NMSU, and Eli Chuha added 11 points and eight rebounds.
–    Harris led the Miners with 18 points, and Dominic Artis scored 15 points with nine assists.


–    A new zone defense kept the Miners in the game, but they came out on the short end of the scoreboard as UC Irvine squeaked out a 62-57 victory on day two of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Dec. 22.
–    The Miners held the Anteaters to 36 percent shooting.
–    UTEP took a 36-35 lead early in the second half before Irvine’s Jaron Martin hit four three pointers in a span of two minutes.  That put the Anteaters ahead 44-38 and left the Miners playing from behind for much of the rest of the game.
–    UTEP did tie it once, at 49-all with 4:41 to go, but Martin struck again with two free throws and a three-pointer to push the lead to 54-49.  The other backbreaker came with 29 seconds remaining, when Irvine’s Eyassu Worku hit a jumper to stretch a two-point lead (56-54) to four.
–    Martin hit six threes and scored 22 points for UC Irvine.  The Anteaters outrebounded the Miners 43-24 behind Ioannis Dimakopoulos’ double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds).
–    Omega Harris scored 19 points and Dominic Artis added 14 for the Miners, who once again battled heavy foul trouble.  They were whistled for 26 fouls in all, with Kelvin Jones, Paul Thomas and Matt Willms all failing to make it to the finish line.


–    Dominic Artis was sixth in the nation in assists (7.5 apg), 15th in minutes (36.4 mpg) and 16th in steals (2.4 spg) through Dec. 28.
–    Omega Harris was 27th in minutes per game (35.6).
–    UTEP is one of five schools with two players ranked in the nation’s top-30 in minutes.  The others are Connecticut, Portland, Santa Clara and St. Bonaventure.
–    Artis is the only player in the country averaging at least 14 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

National Assist Leaders (Through Dec. 28)

1.    Maurice Watson Jr. (Creighton)    9.1 apg
2.    Lonzo Ball (UCLA)    8.1 apg
3.    Jaaron Simmons (Ohio)    7.8 apg
4.    Kyron Cartwright (Providence)    7.6 apg
Siyani Chambers (Harvard)    7.6 apg
6.    Dominic Artis (UTEP)    7.5 apg

Gallery+Story: Aggies Speed by Miners 79-68, Take Round One of the Battle of I-10

Ian Baker scored five of his game-high 20 points during an 11-0 run midway through the first half, leading NM State to a 79-68 victory at UTEP on Tuesday.

The Aggies (9-2) won their seventh straight game and handed the Miners (2-6) their fifth consecutive defeat.

“They were better than us tonight,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “I thought we had a real problem stopping them.  It seemed like when we did stop them, they offensive tipped it back in.  We had a really poor time converting in the open floor … a lot of mistakes.  Three on two, two on one, or drive baseline, kick, fumble it out of bounds and in these kinds of games, you cannot make mistakes.”

UTEP was down 9-2 early, but pulled within one (15-14) on a jumper by Omega Harris with 11:57 remaining in the half before Jermaine Haley started the 11-0 spurt with a three-pointer.  By the time it ended, the Miners were down 26-14 and they trailed by double digits most of the remainder of the game.

The deficit reached 20 five minutes into the second half and a late rally – triggered by freshman Tim Cameron with a pair of three-point plays – came up short.

The Aggies shot 62.5 percent in the first half and 54.9 percent on the night, and outrebounded the Miners 38-28.

“They looked more physical, stronger, quicker than we did on the interior,” Floyd said.  “They just manhandled us on the inside.  High low passes in the first half which we prepared for all week long, [we] just were slow getting to the ball, slow recovering and they did a really nice job of executing.”

Jemarrio Jones had 18 points and 13 rebounds off the bench for NMSU, and Eli Chuha added 11 points and eight rebounds.

“Jemarrio Jones is a very good player.  He’s a new guy for them who I think is going to be a terrific, terrific talent,” Floyd said. “Chuha, I thought was quicker and more explosive than our guys around the basket.  He did a really nice job.  Baker had another good game.  He has played well against us last year and this year.”

Harris led the Miners with 18 points, and Dominic Artis scored 15 points with nine assists.

“Omega and D.A. are guys that we obviously have to rely on to be not good, but great for the club this year,” Floyd said.  “We have struggled trying to find a third scorer.  We have struggled trying to find a fourth scorer.  It just has not been the same, and that’s pretty much what we lost in the offseason and we have not been able to play with any kind of effectiveness offensively because it’s a real struggle for our guys to make goals.  I think over the long haul we’re going to have to be able to get teams in the 50’s and 60’s to win, but that’s very, very difficult when you give up 62 percent in the first half which we did tonight.”

The Miners shot 55.2 percent in the second half in outscoring the Aggies 43-38, but the damage was done on the opposite end of the floor in the first 20 minutes.  Over the last three games the Miners have given up 79, 78 and 79 points, and all three of their opponents shot over 50 percent.

“We have got to defend better,” Floyd said.  “At the end of the day, I’m so sick of giving up 62 percent, 73 percent from the three-point line in a half.  It’s very difficult to catch up.  It puts a lot of pressure on a team that is void of scoring to go down and score every possession without turning it over.  That part of it we can attempt to control, and we are going to do that.”

The Miners will continue their four-game homestand against Northern Arizona on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Gallery courtesy Andres Acosta

H-P Sports In Depth: Miners Bring Confidence into Round One of I-10 Battle

Despite dropping a tough 78-77 decision at New Mexico last week, the UTEP men’s basketball team gained some confidence that it hopes will translate into a winning performance against I-10 rival NM State on Tuesday in the Haskins Center.

The Miners (2-5) and the Aggies (8-2) will lace ‘em up for the first time in 2016-17 at 7 p.m.  The game will feature a special performance by El Paso native and “The Voice” contestant Elia Esparza, and free rally towels for the first 5,000 fans.

UTEP capped a tumultuous week by overcoming a 21-point deficit versus the Lobos, but couldn’t hang on to a three-point lead in the final 30 seconds and fell just short of the upset.

“We had gone through some adversity, losing a key player [Terry Winn] and then having to suspend another key player [Omega Harris],” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “We had the ability to practice for a while [during a nine-day break between games] and we did make some strides.  We made some improvements against a very good New Mexico team.  A young player got his head up in Deon Barrett.  We desperately needed a third scorer that could come in and help us make some baskets.  It felt good as a group in the locker room even though we lost a tough one, because we’re making strides.”

Barrett was named Conference USA Player of the Week on Monday after scoring all 25 of his points in the second half versus the Lobos.  It was something for the Miners, and Barrett, to build on.

“We’re hoping that he shows the confidence to get himself in tough situations, which that was an extremely difficult situation — it was his first road game as a collegiate player — to step in and make those kinds of shots,” Floyd said.  “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a player make 25 points in a half, much less a freshman.  But he knows that there are other ways he can help our team.  If the ball isn’t going in the goal, there are still other things that he can do and we certainly have other guys that can make goals.”

Tuesday’s matchup is the 212th between the Miners and the Aggies.

“I think our guys that have been here, they understand [the rivalry],” Floyd said.  “I don’t think our freshmen have any clue. But they’ll learn quickly that it does mean something, that New Mexico State is going to come over here with a very talented team and they’re going to play exceptionally hard in our building.”

The Aggies have won six in a row and haven’t lost since Nov. 18.  The Miners have lost four in a row.  But fans have seen enough over the last 100 years to know that the records don’t mean much in the rivalry.

NM State has three players with double-figure scoring averages – senior guard Ian Baker (14.0 ppg), sophomore guard Sidy N’Dir (13.7 ppg) and junior guard Braxton Huggins (12.9 ppg).  The Aggies’ most productive inside players have been junior forward Jemerrio Jones (9.9 ppg/6.7 rpg) and sophomore forward Eli Chuha (9.8 ppg/7.3 rpg).

“They’ve got a couple of really good guards,” Floyd said.  “Baker came in here and just kicked us around last year.  I think they are exceptional in transition offense, both on made field goals and made free throws and also on misses.  I think they’re doing a terrific job defensively.  They’ve got great size and length. This is a team that looks like an NCAA Tournament team.”

Tuesday is round one.  Round two will be on Dec. 30 in Las Cruces, as the teams will square off after Christmas for just the second time in 15 years.

Tickets are available by calling (915) 747-5234.

The Battle of I-10 is sponsored by FirstLight Federal Credit Union.

Miners in Depth:


– UTEP (2-5) plays its second straight rivalry game when it hosts NM State (8-2) in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 on Tuesday at 7. The Miners lost at New Mexico, 78-77, on Dec. 7.
– The last time UTEP played New Mexico and NM State back-to-back was in December of 2006.
– The Miners are trying to stamp out a four-game losing streak, and a three-game skid at the hands of their I-10 rivals.
– NM State is riding a six-game win streak and hasn’t lost since Nov. 18.
– UTEP will play at NM State on Dec. 30, the latest meeting between the schools since the 2012-13 season (Feb. 23). It marks just the second time in 15 years that the schools will square off after Christmas.
– The Miners are opening a four-game homestand, which ties their longest of the season, against NM State. UTEP will also have a four-game set within Conference USA play Feb. 2-11.


– NM State is in its first season under the direction of former assistant Paul Weir, who took over for Marvin Menzies when he left to become head coach at UNLV.
– The Aggies, who also lost Pascal Siakam to the NBA, have won eight of their first 10 games.
– This is NMSU’s fourth road game of the season; the Aggies are 1-2 with a win over San Diego (56-51) and losses to Colorado State (64-61) and New Mexico (72-59).
– The Aggies have three players with double-figure scoring averages – senior guard Ian Baker (14.0 ppg), sophomore guard Sidy N’Dir (13.7 ppg) and junior guard Braxton Huggins (12.9 ppg).
– Huggins ranks 27th nationally in three-point field goal percentage (.481).
– The Aggies’ most productive inside players have been junior forward Jemerrio Jones (9.9 ppg/6.7 rpg) and sophomore forward Eli Chuha (9.8 ppg/7.3 rpg).
– NM State is averaging 76.4 points per game. The Aggies have scored 80 or more on five occasions, including in the last two outings versus Long Beach State (93) and New Mexico (84).
– The Aggies’ six-game win streak was tied for 15th-longest in the country entering the week.


– NM State leads the series 108-103.
– The Aggies have won six of the last seven games between the long-time rivals.
– The Miners have a 62-48 advantage in games played in El Paso. NMSU has won two of the last three games between the teams in the Haskins Center after UTEP won eight of the previous 10.
– UTEP’s Tim Floyd is 6-7 when coaching against NMSU, including 5-7 with the Miners. UTEP is 4-2 versus NMSU in the Haskins Center under his watch.


– NM State scored the game’s first 14 points, and outscored UTEP 25-10 over the final 11 minutes in a 73-53 victory over the Miners on Dec. 19, 2015 at the Don Haskins Center.
– Omega Harris scored a then-career high 23 points off the bench in his first game of the season. He made 7-of-11 shots and 3-of-4 three pointers. The rest of the team was 12-for-44 from the field (27.3 percent). The Miners’ top five scorers coming into the game — Lee Moore, Earvin Morris, Hooper Vint, Dominic Artis and Terry Winn — combined to make 8-of-34 attempts (23.5 percent).
– Despite the horrible start, the Miners clawed back in it and took the lead, 31-29, on a three-pointer by Harris with 57 seconds left in the half. The Aggies’ Ian Baker answered with a three pointer right before halftime and NMSU didn’t trail again.
– The Aggies finished 11-for-19 from beyond the arc led by Baker, who was 6-for-7 and poured in a game-high 26 points.
– After NMSU went up by 10 early in the second half, Harris made another three and Moore scored a layup to cut the deficit in half. NMSU responded with another triple, this time by Jalyn Pennie. Twenty-one seconds later, the Aggies were back up by double digits, as they stayed the remainder of the evening.
– Pennie collected 14 points and eight rebounds, shooting 4-for-7 from outside. After a slow start, Pascal Siakam tallied 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Aggies.


– Elijah Brown scored 25 points, including the game-winning jumper with five seconds left, as New Mexico edged UTEP, 78-77, on Dec. 7 at WisePies Arena – The Pit.
– It was another classic in the long-time rivalry, renewed for the first time in five years. UTEP came back from 21 down in the first half and went toe-to-toe with the Lobos before 11,838 hostile fans, but couldn’t hold on to a three-point lead in the final 30 seconds.
– UTEP trailed 27-6 with a little over 12 minutes remaining in the first half. The Miners outscored the Lobos 27-10 over the next nine minutes to pull within four (37-33) on a three-pointer by Dominic Artis. UTEP trailed 47-39 at halftime.
– The Miners got down 13 early in the second half, but went on an 18-4 run and took their first lead, 62-61, on a three-pointer by Deon Barrett with 9:41 left. Neither team led by more than four points in a final 10 minutes that featured four ties and six lead changes.
– UTEP had its biggest lead of four (72-68) when Barrett made two free throws with 5:19 to go. The Lobos would tie it twice, 72-72 at the four-minute mark and 74-74 with 1:02 to play.
– Barrett broke the deadlock on a three-pointer with 30 seconds left. Jordan Hunter scored quickly for New Mexico to make it 77-76. Artis was fouled with 18 seconds remaining but missed the front end of the one-and-one, setting up Brown’s heroics.
– Harris scored 14 of his 22 points in the first half. The star of the second half was the freshman Barrett, who scored 25 points in 17 minutes and made seven of eight three-pointers. n The Miners made 15-of-29 threes, including 9-of-15 in the second half. They assisted on 22 of 27 field goals as Artis recorded 12 dimes to go with 13 points and five steals.
– Sam Logwood and Hunter scored 11 and 10 points respectively for New Mexico. The Lobos shot 56.8 percent and went 21-for-32 from the line to UTEP’s 8-of-14. They outrebounded the Miners 31-26, largely off a 10-1 edge early.


– UTEP was ranked 23rd nationally in assists per game (17.4) through the games of Dec 11.
– Individually, Dominic Artis was tied for third in assists (7.9 apg), 14th in steals (2.6 spg) and 21st in minutes (36.1 avg.).
– Dominic Artis, Creighton’s Maurice Watson Jr., Providence’s Kyron Cartwright and Stetson’s Angel Rivera are the only players in the country to dish out 12 assists or more in two games this season. Artis compiled 13 in the opener versus Louisiana College and 12 at New Mexico.

National Assist Leaders (Through Dec. 11)

1. Maurice Watson Jr. (Creighton) 9.1 apg
2. Lonzo Ball (UCLA) 8.8 apg
3. Dominic Artis (UTEP) 7.9 apg
Siyani Chambers (Harvard) 7.9 apg
5. Kyron Cartwright (Providence) 7.7 apg


– UTEP made 15 three-pointers at New Mexico on Dec. 7 to tie the school single-game record.
– The Miners also made 15 triples versus UT Permian Basin (Nov. 22, 2003) and East Carolina (Feb. 13, 2010).
– UTEP’s .517 three-point percentage (15-for-29) against the Lobos was its best in a game with a minimum 20 attempts since Dec. 17, 2011 versus Southern (12-for-23, 52.2 percent).
– The Miners’ 15 three-pointers versus UNM tied the most by a C-USA team in 2016-17. Charlotte made 15 versus USC Upstate (Nov. 22), and Rice made 15 at Texas Tech (Dec. 3).


– After scoring 25 points combined in the first six games of the season, freshman Deon Barrett scored 25 points in the second half at New Mexico.
– It marked the most points by a UTEP player in a period since Dominic Artis scored 25 in the second half versus Marshall on Feb. 4, 2016.
– Barrett tied the school freshman record with seven three-pointers against the Lobos. Randy Culpepper also made seven versus SMU in the Conference USA Tournament on March 12, 2008 in Memphis.
– Barrett’s .875 three-point percentage (7-for-8) versus UNM was the best for a UTEP player in a game with a minumum seven makes. The previous record was .778 (7-for-9) by Jarvis Mullahon at NM State on Nov. 28, 1998.
– Barrett tied the Conference USA record for three-point percentage in a game (minimum eight attempts) with his performance at UNM. Tulane’s Patrick Lewis was also 7-for-8 at Saint Louis on Feb. 14, 1996.
– Barrett’s 25 points versus the Lobos are the most by a freshman in C-USA this season. LA Tech’s Jalen Harris scored 24 against Oklahoma Baptist on Nov. 23.
– Barrett’s seven three-pointers against UNM are tied for the most by a C-USA player this season. LA Tech’s Jacobi Boykins also made seven at Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 10.


– Deon Barrett was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Week on Monday, the sixth UTEP player to be so honored.
– UTEP’s past C-USA Freshmen of the Week include John Bohannon during the 2010-11 season, Cedrick Lang & Julian Washburn during the 2011-12 campaign, and Vince Hunter & Matt Willms during the 2013-14 season.


– Deon Barrett’s 25 points at New Mexico were the second-most by a Miner freshman under seventh-year head coach Tim Floyd.
– Barrett became the seventh UTEP freshman to tally 20 points or more in a game during the Floyd era.

20-Point Games by Freshmen Under Tim Floyd – Player Opponent/Date Points

Vince Hunter LA Tech (1/30/14) 26
Vince Hunter at Southern Miss (2/22/14) 26
Deon Barrett at New Mexico (12/7/16) 25
Cedrick Lang Arkansas-Pine Bluff (12/29/11) 22
Julian Washburn at SMU (3/3/12) 21
Vince Hunter FIU (2/15/14) 21
Terry Winn vs. Marshall (3/10/16) 21
John Bohannon Western New Mexico (12/28/10) 20
Matt Willms Loyola (11/9/13) 20
Vince Hunter Marshall (1/11/14) 20
Vince Hunter at Middle Tennessee (1/16/14) 20


– Dominic Artis leads the Miners in rebounding (6.7 rpg), assists (7.9 apg), steals (2.6 spg) and minutes (36.1 mpg), and ranks second in scoring (15.3 ppg).
– He has led the Miners in scoring three times, rebounds two times, assists seven times and steals six times in 2016-17.
– Artis is the only player in the country averaging 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
– Artis and Omaha’s Tra-Deon Hollins (6.7 apg/2.9 spg) are the only players ranked in the top-15 nationally in assists and steals.
– Artis leads C-USA in assists and steals. The last Miner to lead the league in assists was Filiberto Rivera in the WAC in 2004-05 (7.2 apg), and the last to lead the conference in steals was Randy Culpepper in 2010-11 (2.03 spg).
– Since Conference USA’s inception for the 1995-96 season, only one player has led the league in assists and steal average. That was LA Tech’s Kenneth Smith in 2013-14.
– Artis’ 7.9 assists per game would shatter the school record of 7.16 per contest, set by Rivera in 2004-05.
– Artis is the third Miner player to record a pair of 12-assist games in a season, joining Joe Griffin (1989-90) and Rivera (2004-05). Rivera owns the school standard with three in a campaign.


– Dominic Artis has career totals of 842 points, 324 rebounds, 370 assists and 121 steals in his fourth collegiate season (2012-14 at Oregon, 2015-present at UTEP). He has appeared in 93 games.
– He has dished out 225 assists at UTEP including 170 last season, 10th-most in school history.
– Artis has come close to posting only the second triple-double in school history on several occasions. Last season’s close calls came versus Loyola (16 points/nine rebounds/eight assists), UTRGV (21 points/eight rebounds/eight assists), LA Tech (23 points/10 rebounds/nine assists) and Florida Atlantic (13 points/nine rebounds/nine assists). He had eight points/nine rebounds/13 assists in the opener against Louisiana College, 20 points/10 rebounds/nine assists versus Western Michigan. The only triple-double in Miner history was registered by Jason Williams versus Lipscomb (17 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) in the NIT on March 14, 2006.
– Artis has scored in double figures in six consecutive games, matching his career-long streak (at Oregon) from Dec. 31, 2012 – Jan. 19, 2013.
– Artis has recorded multiple steals in five of seven games this season, including a career-high tying five at New Mexico on Dec. 7.


– Omega Harris leads UTEP in scoring (16.7 ppg) after collecting 6.7 ppg as a freshman and 12.3 ppg as a sophomore.
– Harris is a career 43.6 percent (210-for-482) shooter from the field, 39.6 percent (90-for-227) from three and 77.2 percent (105-for-136) from the line. He has scored 615 points.
– Harris has scored 20+ points twice in six games this season. He had two 20-point games in all of 2015-16.
– Dating back to last season, he has scored in double figures 13 times in his last 15 games.


– 7’1” Matt Willms returned this season after missing most of 2015-16 with a fracture of the nevicular bone in his foot that required a similar surgery as fellow big men Joel Embiid and Greg Oden.
– It was the second major surgery of Willms’ career; he had surgery for a torn labrum in his shoulder in 2014.
– Willms broke his nose in the Northwestern State game (Dec. 3) and will be playing with a protective mask on Tuesday.
– Willms leads the Miners in field goal percentage (.608) while averaging 11.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.
– Willms has appeared in 70 games for the Miners, with 40 starts, and collected 405 points, 275 rebounds and 69 blocked shots. His career field goal percentage is .560 (155-for-277).
– He ranks 12th in school history in blocked shots, behind Marlon Maxey (11th, 75 blocks).


– Jake Flaggert led Conference USA in charges drawn (18) last season, and is back at it in 2016-17 with a team-leading five in seven games.
– Flaggert has 29 charges drawn in his Miner career (68 games).
– Two of Flaggert’s three career double-figure scoring games have come early this season, including a personal best 14 points against Northwestern State.
– He is 9-for-9 from the line this season after entering the campaign as a career 64.3 percent foul shooter.


– Paul Thomas and Trey Touchet have seen their minutes increase in 2016-17.
– Thomas is second on the team, averaging 6.1 rebounds. The 6-8 forward is third on the squad with 13 assists (1.9 apg).
– Thomas has collected at least five rebounds in six of seven games and has had double-digit boards twice (11 versus Louisiana College, 10 against Northwestern State).
– Touchet either set or tied career-highs for points (13), three-pointers (three), free throws (four), rebounds (three), assists (two) and minutes (30) against Northwestern State.
– Touchet has made 12-of-26 shots (.462) on the young campaign, 8-of-20 from three-point territory (.400) and is third on the squad with four steals.


– One of the freshmen UTEP is counting on this season — 6-11 Kelvin Jones — has had an amazing road to El Paso.
– He grew up in Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico, where his father was the mayor. He played soccer and volleyball.
– In 2011, after cartel violence claimed two relatives, the family left in the middle of the night and moved to Bismarck, North Dakota.
– Jones started playing basketball his freshman year in high school. He was 6-9 and the school didn’t have a volleyball program.
– He finished his prep career at Hobbs [N.M.] High School, where he averaged 14.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks for a 30-2, state championship team.
– Jones put on 20 pounds in-between his junior and senior seasons.
– He walked on his first year at UTEP and sold pesticides door-to-door in Houston so he could have enough money to pay for his college tuition.
– Jones has posted 24 points, 20 rebounds and eight blocks this season. He is coming off his most productive outing at New Mexico with four points, six rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes.


– UTEP matched its season-high with 35 points from the bench at New Mexico.
– The 25 points by Deon Barrett at New Mexico were the most by a UTEP reserve since Randy Culpepper scored 25 against UCF on Feb. 11, 2009.
– Not only does Deon Barrett lead the Miners in assist/turnover ratio (3.5), but he has played error-free basketball over the last four games, spanning 67 minutes.
– UTEP has used five different starting lineups in seven games.
– The Miners lead Conference USA in assists this season (17.4 apg), and have assisted on 66.7 percent (122-of-183) of their field goals. That figure also leads Conference USA; UAB is second (61.8 percent) and Old Dominion third (61.7 percent)

Softball Battle of I-10 Set for Tuesday: UTEP vs NMSU

After coming off another Conference USA series win, the UTEP softball team will host I-10 rival NM State on Tuesday starting at 6 p.m.

The contest is an Orange Out – fans that wear orange will get in free.

The Miners (19-24) and Aggies (28-19) will play a single game, as it will be the third and final meeting of 2016.

All-Time Series vs. NM State

The Aggies lead the all-time series 27-10, while winning 13 of the last 14 contests. The Miners last defeated the Aggies 5-1 on March 4, 2014 in El Paso. NM State defeated UTEP earlier in the season in Las Cruces, winning 4-1 in Feb. 13 and 12-4 (five innings) the next day. Kiki Pepi, Kaitlin Ryder and Hope Moreno each went 2-for-6 (.333) during the two-game span. Pepi recorded a pair of RBI, while Ryder, Courtney Clayton and Lindsey Sokoloski each recorded an RBI.

Last Meeting

NM State defeated UTEP 12-4 in five innings on Feb. 14 in Las Cruces. The Miners scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning, to cut a 9-0 deficit to five runs, but the Aggies answered with a trio of runs in the home half. Kiki Pepi went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, while Courtney Clayton and Lindsey Sokoloski each tallied an RBI.

UTEP’s Last Victory Over NM State

UTEP defeated NM State 5-1 on March 4, 2014 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. The Miners used timely hitting, solid pitching and clutch defensive plays to snap a seven-game losing streak against the Aggies. UTEP jumped on NM State early, scoring a pair of runs in the fist inning.

Colleen Hohman walked with bases loaded to score the first run, while Kayla Black singled that brought a runner home. Tahla Wade tripled in the second, plating Miraya Montiel, making the score 3-0. The Aggies got a run in the sixth, but the Miners answered with another pair of runs. Danielle Pearson scored on an error, whileAlanna Leasau tallied an RBI single. Hohman picked up the win, throwing 5.0 innings, and Pearson picked up the save in a 2.0-inning effort. Montiel went 2-for-2 in the game.

Scouting NM State

The Aggies are 28-19 (8-1 WAC) after facing Grand Canyon last weekend. NM State split a double header against the Antelopes on April 15, falling 6-5 in game one, then rebounded in game two to capture an 8-0 victory in five innings. On April 16, the Aggies secured the series victory over GCU, 9-1.

NM State is hitting a .343 average with 41 home runs. Kelsey Horton leads the Aggies with a .389 average, 13 home runs, and 44 RBI. Fiana Finau (.374) follows with eight home runs and 42 RBI. As a team, the pitching staff has a collective 3.16 ERA in 283.2 innings, as Karysta Donisthorpe (8-8) paces the team with a 2.81 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 99.2 innings. Kayla Green (8-3) has a 3.31 ERA in 80.1 innings.

Comeback Kids

After rallying to beat Middle Tennessee on April 17, the Miners are proving to come up with clutch hitting. UTEP scored five runs in the seventh after being down 6-4 that resulted in a 9-6 triumph.  The Miners have shown in multiple games that they can rally to beat teams. On Feb. 13 against Incarnate Word, UTEP scored three runs in the top seventh, resulting in a 5-3 win.

On March 19 against LA Tech, the Miners were down 6-4 after two frames, but came back to outscore the Lady Techsters 9-1 to claim a 13-7 win. In game two against the same squad, LA Tech tied the contest 6-6 with a three-run sixth and the Miners won 7-6 in the bottom eighth. At FIU (March 25-26), UTEP found itself down in a trio of contests, but rallied to win all three. UTEP was down 3-0 to UTSA on April 2 and rallied win 5-3.

Offensive Juggernaut

UTEP’s offense has been a hit thus far in 2016. The Miners rank first in doubles (62) and total bases (553) in Conference USA. The squad also ranks second in home runs (39) behind LA Tech (44), second in hitting (.320) behind FIU (.321), while also ranking no. 2 in slugging (.480) behind LA Tech (.481), and hits (368) behind FIU (387). UTEP ranks fifth in on-base percentage (.370), fifth in runs scored (206). The Miners rank fourth in RBI (185).

Cracking Jacks

The Miners have connected on 39 home runs so far in 2016, matching last season’s total. UTEP is on pace for around 48 home runs this season, which would finish fourth-best all-time. The Miners hit 45 in 2008, 50 in 2007, 57 in 2006, 62 in 2012 and a program-best 63 in 2009.

Crossing the Dish

UTEP has scored 206 runs in 2016 and is on pace for around 254 runs at 4.8 runs per game. The most runs scored all-time is 306 in 2007. It’s also the most runs per game since third-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk took over the program, while it’s the most since the Miners averaged 4.8 runs per game in 2010.

Grinding out Doubles

UTEP, after tallying seven more doubles at Middle Tennessee this past weekend, leads Conference USA with 62. The Miners have three players in the top 10 in Conference USA in doubles, as Courtney Clayton (15) leads the way; Taylor Sargent (12) is tied fourth with Southern Miss’ Tori Dew and Kiki Pepi (11) is ranked sixth.

The Miners are on pace for around 76 doubles, which would be the fourth most in program history. The 2008 team tallied 87 doubles, most all-time.

Connecting on Knocks

UTEP is averaging 8.6 hits per game. If the Miners keep this pace, they will have connected on 453 hits in 2016, which would rank no. 1 all-time. The 2009 squad set the program standard with 442 hits.

Potent Offense in League Play

UTEP ranks first in just about every offensive category in Conference USA game only. The Miners are hitting .354 in 15 league games – best in C-USA. The Miners also rank first in home runs (18), doubles (30), slugging (.544), on-base percentage (.394), total bases (241), RBI (80), hits (157) and runs (86).

Reducing Miscues

UTEP has committed 50 errors during the first 43 games in 2016, nine less than last season at this time. If the Miners keep this pace, they will have committed around 62 errors, which would be the second-least in program history. The 2007 defense committed only 59 in 2007. The fielding has improved, somewhat, during the last few seasons. In 2012, UTEP committed 86 errors, while in 2013, 81 miscues were scored.

Since Tobin Echo-Hawk and Cristina Cobb-Adams – both infielders in college – arrived to the Sun City, the Miners committed 69 in 2014 and 73 last season. North Texas (26) has committed the least amount of miscues in 2016.


The Miners rank second in Conference USA with 20 double plays turned. Middle Tennessee leads the league with 21. OnMarch 13, UTEP tied a program record by turning a trio of double plays at Marshall. The feat as been achieved three other times – the last time being Feb. 13, 2005 against North Texas.

Last season, UTEP tied a program record with the 2007 team by registering 21 double plays. The Miners are on pace for about 25 double plays, which would rank no. 1 in school history. The Conference USA record is 32, by the 2009 UCF squad. FIU led the league in 2015 (24 DPs).

Born to Assist

The UTEP defense has shown considerable improvement, as it ranks first in Conference USA with 407 assists. The Miners are on pace for around 501 assists, which would be the most in school history. The 2015 squad recorded 489 (most in program history), while the 2009 team registered 488.

Linda’s Big Weekend

Starting catcher Linda Garcia had a breakout weekend at Middle Tennessee April 16-17. The sophomore hit .600 (6-for-10) with a pair of home runs, four RBI, a double, three runs scored and her first-career stolen base. Garcia tied her career high in hits on a 3-for-4 performance in game one.

She connected on a two-run home run that helped put the game away. She hit another home run the second game, a solo shot, while she registered an RBI double in game three that ignited a five-run seventh. Garcia has made a dramatic improvement from her first year, hitting .284 with five home runs, three doubles and 15 RBI. Last season, Garcia hit .192 with three jacks and 10 RBI.

Clutch Hitter

Danielle Pearson has hit the ball well this season, but had a pair of clutch hits in particular. Pearson came up with a big hit in the series finale at Middle Tennessee on April 17. With the score 6-5 in favor of the Blue Raiders, Pearson was inserted as a pinch hitter and came up with a go-ahead two-run double on a 0-2 count. The Miners went on to win the contest 9-6. On March 19 against LA Tech, Pearson recorded a single in the bottom of the eighth that brought the game-winning run across the dish during a 7-6 victory.

Leadoff Sensation

Leadoff hitter Courtney Clayton has had a sensational sophomore campaign thus far. Clayton is one of three Conference USA hitters with an average over .400. The Cornelius, Ore., native is ranked second with a .417 (63-for-151) batting average behind Marshall’s Kaelynn Greene (.458). Clayton leads the league with 15 doubles, while ranking second in hits (63), second in total bases (98), fifth in runs (36), fifth in slugging (.649) and tied ninth in RBI (32).

Clayton has only struck out eight times in 151 at bats, as she ranks fifth in C-USA and 97 nationally in toughest to strikeout. Clayton’s .475 (29-for-61) average in league only games is ranked second, while her 29 hits and seven doubles rank first in C-USA.

Seeing Doubles

Courtney Clayton is ranked no. 1 in Conference USA with 15 doubles. Her 0.35 doubles per game also ranks first in conference and 34th nationally. Camilla Carrera holds the school standard with 19 doubles in 2009. Ashley Eldridge (2014),Chelsea Troupe (2009) and Ashley Bennett (2005) each tallied 17 – second best in school history.

Clayton set her career high with two doubles against Grand Canyon on Feb. 21 and has accomplished the feat two more times (at Marshall onMarch 12; vs. New Mexico on March 15). East Carolina’s Kate Manuse holds the C-USA single-season record with 26 in 2004.

Clayton’s Career Average

Currently, Courtney Clayton’s career batting average is .358 (114-for-318) and ranked no. 4 on the all-time hitting list.Camilla Carrera is the all-time leader (.401 avg.), while Chelsea Troupe (.384) and Erika Arcuri (.357) round out the list. Clayton is 23 hits and two doubles from cracking the all-time list in each respective category. Clayton’s .566-career slugging is also ranked fourth all-time.

Pepped Up

Kiki Pepi has been stellar at the plate since arriving to UTEP. The San Diego, Calif., native is ranked third in Conference USA with 38 RBI, behind LA Tech’s Briana Daiss (42 RBI) and FIU Stephanie Texeira (39). Pepi ranked third on the team in hitting (.324) and ranks tied second in home runs (six).

Pepi has contributed with 45 hits, 18 runs, 11 doubles and a triple. After a 2-for-17 slump (March 4-12), Pepi is hitting .338 (23-for-68) with 16 RBI and a pair of home runs in her last 20 games (March 12-April 17). And after not recording an RBI in six straight contests (March 6-15), Pepi has tallied 16 RBI during the last 16 contests (March 19-April 5).

Vacuuming at Third Base

Kiki Pepi’s glove has been a Hoover at third base in 2016. The junior set a school record with nine assists at FIU in game one on March 25. The previous record was seven assists; accomplished seven times by six players. Pepi currently ranks third in Conference USA with 102 assists and is on pace for around 126, which would be a program record.

Pepi’s assists are also a game high in C-USA this season. Stacie Townsend holds the program single-season record with 114 in 2009.

Drill Sargent

Sophomore Taylor Sargent’s bat has made a dramatic improvement after hitting .232 in 2015. The native of Albuquerque, N.M., has been drilling doubles, ranking tied fourth in Conference USA with 12. Sargent ranks fourth on the team in hitting (.318), while connecting on two home runs with 16 RBI and 18 runs scored.

Defensively, Sargent has played first base and right field, pretty much splitting time between the two positions. She ranks second on the team in putouts (141). She is currently on a 10-game hitting streak (March 25-April 17), batting .324 (12-for-37) during that span. It’s the longest streak on the team thus far.

More from Moreno

Hope Moreno has seen more playing time as of late, while providing solid fielding and hitting. During her last 17 games (March 15-April 17), the sophomore is hitting .440 (22-for-50) with nine RBI, eight runs, four doubles and a pair of home runs. Her three-run bomb put the Miners up 9-2 in game two against UTSA on April 2.

Moreno also connected on a clutch two-run jack at FIU on March 26 that gave her squad a 6-3 lead. Moreno also recorded 13 putouts in back-to-back games on March 25, while recording 10 more the next day. The previous nine games (Feb. 26March 12), Moreno hit .238 (5-for-21). Moreno is hitting .425 (17-for-40) in league only games and is ranked seventh in Conference USA in that category.

The Ryd Stuff

Kaitlin Ryder had a good weekend at Middle Tennessee, hitting .462 (6-for-13) with a pair of RBI and a double. The Chatsworth, Calif., native has made a dramatic improvement in the batter’s box in 2016. After hitting .241 last season, the sophomore ranks second on the team in batting (.357), while leading in on-base percentage (.447).

Ryder also has three home runs, 21 RBI, ranks second on the team in runs (25), while digging out five doubles and a triple. Ryder has also shown patience at the plate, walking a team-high 20 times (ranks tied seventh in Conference USA).

Kawehi’s Bat Coming Alive

Senior outfielder Kawehiokalani Netane struggled the first part of the season. Netane hit .224 (11-for-49) with only one home run and four RBI in 20 games (Feb. 11-March 5). The last 23 contests, Netane is hitting .328 (20-for-61) with seven jacks, 16 RBI and 14 runs scored. She also registered a career-high two home runs and six RBI against Mount St. Mary’s on March 5 to begin the 20-game stretch.

Two More Wins for Fifield

Kaitlin Fifield has pitched well in Conference USA contests in 2016. After picking up a pair of wins at Middle Tennessee April 16-17, the junior is now 8-12 overall, but most importantly 6-3 in league games. After a 0-2 start in league play, Fifield has fashioned a 6-1 mark (March 19-April 17). Also with the two wins, Fifield is now ranked no. 4 on the all-time wins list in program history.

Aggies sweep Miners in 20-point win at the Don

On a night that would see one team win their first game in the past four attempts; the rivalry that is the Battle of I-10 added another page to the chapter, one UTEP would prefer to forget, falling to NM State 73 to 53 at the Don Haskins Center.

The Aggies jumped to 14-0 lead before the Miners made their first shot after going 0 for 7 from the field.

“We got ourselves in a hell of a hole by turning the ball over four straight times, I like the way we tried to fight back. We played some box, it helped us get back in it,” UTEP head coach, Tim Floyd said. “We got some spirited play from Omega Harris off the bench.”

The Aggies would maintain a double-digit lead for the majority of the first half, until the Miners went on a 16-5 run and take their first leadNMSU at UTEP-24 of the game, 31-29, with 57 seconds left in the half off a three-point shot from Harris.

It was Harris’ first game of the season making a positive contribution off the bench, scoring 23 of the team’s 39 bench points.

UTEP head coach, Tim Floyd said Harris will eventually be a starter, but it was the lone bright spot on the night.

Lee Moore and Terry Winn struggled to find any rhythm throughout the game shooting a combined 3 of 20 from the field for seven points.

Floyd was asked if Moore’s play would hinder his status as a starter going forward, ‘playing his way out’ of the lineup.

NMSU at UTEP-4“We’re learning something about our guys every night out. You’re asking me what I think. Do I think this guy can play his way out?” Floyd said. “I don’t know, I don’t know who this guy is right now, we’re going to find out. This is where you suck them up, you play hard, you play with confidence…if you miss a few shots, get in the gym and spend an extra hour in the gym shooting. That’s all I know to do.”

UTEP led the Aggies 17 to 14 in rebounding in the first half, but ended the night losing the battle 38 to 27; getting out-muscled on the defensive end.

“My entire career we’ve been able to take a really good player out of the game on the perimeter, we have not been able to do that since we played (Gian) Clavell from Colorado State,” Floyd said. “We’re going to have to get back to it, if it truly is important then we’re going to have to get back to finding somebody, not necessarily changing what we’re doing, but finding somebody that can that’s on our roster, come in and do that. Our guys are simply not making enough shots offensively.”

The Aggies would regain the lead by one before the half, but the Miners managed to erase the 14-0 lead their rival had to begin the game.

UTEP’s bench play was vital in the surging comeback, outscoring NMSU’s bench 28-1 in the first half. But the comeback win would never happen as the Aggies kept pulling away as the second had winded down.

“This is basketball, it’s a game of runs. We knew they were going to go on a run. They went on a pretty good one and cut it to one,” AggiesNMSU at UTEP-45 guard, Ian Baker said. “At half time, he (coach Mavin Menzies) just told us to keep doing what we’re doing and they’ll break eventually.”

What was once a one-point lead turned into a 20-point advantage for the Aggies downing the Miners 73-53 and ending their three-game losing streak while the Miners lose their fourth-consecutive game.

Baker led all scorers with 26 points going six of seven from behind the three-point line.

“Honestly the thing that had me going was my mother came in from D.C. She was at the game tonight. I just wanted to give her something to remember while she was there, that was kind of in the back of my mind the whole game,” Baker said. “At the same time, I wanted to get the second win against UTEP, I want to at least split with our rivalry game.”

Both programs entered the night with three-game losing streaks: NMSU’s last win was against the Miners on Dec. 2 which also was UTEP’s first loss of the season after beginning the season with six consecutive victories.

The win for the Aggies is also their first non-conference road win since Dec. 17 2013. NMSU improves to 6-5 while dropping the Miners to 6-4.

UTEP has a quick turnaround as they host the Sun Bowl invitational and take on Norfolk State on Monday, while the Aggies also have two days to prepare for Oral Roberts.

Battle of I-10 Part 1: Aggies beat Miners 73-59

Pascal Siakam collected 24 points and 23 rebounds, and NM State built a big lead early in the first half en route to a 73-59 win over UTEP on Wednesday at the Pan American Center.

The Aggies (5-2) scored the game’s first 10 points and led 20-4 seven minutes into the game.  The Miners cut it to four twice late in the first half and trailed 36-28 at the break.

UTEP, which lost for the first time in seven games, fell behind by 10 points (38-28) early in the second half.  The Miners mounted another rally, pulling within four (51-47) on a three-pointer by Earvin Morris with 10:51 to play.  But the Aggies scored eight of the next 10 points and were in control the rest of the night.

Utep at NMSU-53“The Aggies were a better team tonight than we were in all areas of the game,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “We have had our rebounding woes.  We got dominated last Saturday [against Colorado State] and were able to win a ball game.  It didn’t quite work like that tonight.  Siakam had 23 boards and our team had 27.  Until that mentality changes with our team, including our guards who need to go back and rebound the ball to help us, we’re going to continue to have these kinds of struggles.”

Ian Baker scored 22 points for NMSU and made five of the Aggies’ six three-point field goals.

Dominic Artis led UTEP with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists.  Lee Moore scored 12 points and Morris added 11, although they were a combined 7-for-24 from the field.

“I thought our shot selection was very questionable, even early in the game to late in the game,” Floyd said.  “We only had three turnovers at the half and I thought, ‘Maybe we have a chance.’  But when we cut it to four a couple of times we came down and turned it over on back-to-back trips, and then we took back-to-back bad shots which are like turnovers.  I credit the Aggies for putting us in those situations.  They were more dominant than us inside tonight.  I thought that they played through their bigs and really did a great job.”

The Miners were outrebounded 50-27, including 18-4 on the offensive glass.  The Aggies outscored UTEP 32-10 in the paint and 17-1 on second chance points.

Matt Taylor had a near double-double for NMSU with nine points and nine boards.  The Aggies shot 43.3 percent to UTEP’s 40.7.

Utep at NMSU-99“The first possession of the game we came out and we were going to go double off of Taylor,” Floyd said.  “We had Taylor take the shot, the guy we wanted to take the shot, and they went back and rebounded over the top of us and put it in.  It was like that throughout the entire game.  Very frustrating.  Credit to the Aggies, who I think have got an NBA player in Siakam.  I was in that league for eight years and he looks the part.  We recognized that going into the game, the problem was we couldn’t do anything about it.”

The rematch is on Dec. 19 at the Don Haskins Center.

The Miners will host a UT Arlington team that has won at Ohio State and Memphis, and lost in overtime at Texas, on Saturday.  Tip-off is 7:05 p.m.

Author: UTEP Athletics

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